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eastern europe and all the way across the pacific ocean until the control of people, the dictators began to emerge and take away the freedoms. we believe, i think for some time that in russia, the remainder of the old soviet union, that they had that level of freedom that the people of russia wanted. we believe they had free market economy, at least it was emerging and people were willing to learn how to compete in a free market economy. but today, we see that putin has diminished that dramatically, that the elections are not the legitimate elections that we had hoped we would see in russia. that free market capitalism is controlled by a russian mob, russian mafia and favoritisms that take place and the payoffs that go on that indicate a
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corrupt society that is for the power and enrichment of the rulers. . but we're unique here in the united states of america. madam speaker, we're a unique people and, yes, we are the progeny of western europe and we're the progeny that came from primarily western european stock and at the time that we received the best that western europe had to offer, we also received a fundamental christian faith as the core of our moral values. and this is a judeo-christian nation, madam speaker. the core of our moral values is embodied within the culture. whether people of whatever church people go to or whether they go to church, wherever they worship or whether they worship, we still have the american people as a culture who understand christian values and christian principles, the judeo-christian values that are timeless. and so i would illustrate that, madam speaker, in this way.
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that when -- an example would be this, let's just say if an honorable man from texas were to pull into his driveway and his neighbor's dog had gotten loose and ran underneath the tire of his car and if he killed -- if you're in texas or iowa or most of the places in the country, if you run over your neighbor's dog, what do you do? this is a yiftcran -- christian nation. you go and knock on your neighbor's door and say, well, joe, i just killed your dog. i'm sorry. well, there are two things that happened there. one of them is confession, i just killed your dog, i'm sorry is repen tans. the third thing you say is, i didn't mean to, will you forgive me? so you have confession, repetence and you ask for giveness and the neighbor will say, joe will say, it wasn't your fault, of course you are forgiven. and that is the path of
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christian forgiveness that takes place even when we run over our neighbor's dog. this is a christian nation and the foundation of western civilization are those kind of values. and this is rooted going clear back into the beginnings of -- as far back as the age of reason in greece or the foundations and the principles of logic and reason in science were developed and it flows through western civilization into the age of enlightenment that took place, the english speaking half where question got our free enterprise and our freedom from, and the nonenglish speaking half of the age of enlightenment where we got a lot of these utopian ideas that flowed down here. some of them have polluted the thought process and they clearly pollute the thought process here in the united states congress where many have suspended their ability to reason. and so i recall even this week being criticized by a professor of political science who assigned me a belief system and
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then attacked the belief system that he assigned to me. he wouldn't have gotten by with that in front of socrates or milton friedman, for example. and you shouldn't get by with that in this society either. person after person in this congress takes the posture that we should be legislating on the part, by anecdotes and feelings, by emoting, by something sympathetic so that no one falls through anything that we create a sieve that there are no cracks in and truthfully, madam speaker, it doesn't work that way. there's good and evil in all of us. we're predam naptly good. we have to punish the evil, reward the good and our job in this congress is to enhance and increase in public policy to the extent we can the average annual productivity of our people. and if that is brought about in a moral fashion that improves the quality of life,ed standard of living of everyone in the united states of america and it strengthen us from a military, economic, social and cultural standpoint and we are being weakened by people who undermine our national security, by people
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who are constantly assaulting free enterprise capitalism, by people who are constantly assaulting the rule of law and the rule of law does apply and it applies in securing our borders. i see my friend from missouri has arrived on the floor and whatever is on his heart at the time i'd be so happy as to yield the gentleman as much time as he may you consume. mr. akin: i thank my good friend from iowa and a number of the different words that you're using are so important to the foundation of the whole logic of how the american system works. you know, you're talking about the idea of a rule of law and that's one of those terms that sounds pretty straight forward. we believe in the rule of law. what's the alternative to the rule of law? we've been seeing a whole lot of it this year. the alternative to the rule of law is special deals. if you recall, rule of law is depicted by the frequently marbled statutes -- statues of
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lady justice, she has the blind fold across her eyes, she's holding up the scales and regardless of who you are, man or woman or big or little or rich or poor, lady justice just simply says, just the facts. and so that's what's called the rule of law. people are equal before the law. but the alternative to that is, of course, ruled by whims of mankind. it's special deals. and so we have -- mr. king: anarchy. mr. akin: the too big to fail rule. so we tax americans not so much the americans that live now but their grandchildren we're going to tax and we pass these things like the porkulous bill which is supposed to be stimulus and we pass the wall street bailout. we take all this money and we give it to who? every small mom and pop shop that might fail? no. no, we give it to the too big to fail and so therefore you move from the rule of law to the special deals society. and that's the problem. of course, that's really what
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socialism is. it's special deals administered by guess who? big brother government. that's not what made america great. that's not what allowed our great nation, my good friend, congressman king, that's not what allowed us to have a list of the different nations throughout the world that americans freed from horrible dictatorships. that's the long list. i saw it listed on a cartoon. had the list of all of these countries that american g.i.'s, that american treasure, through the ages, have freed places like germany, places like japan, where you have some dictator, where we went in and freed them from that -- places like graduate nata where our -- grenada where our sons and daughters went in and left a free country. that's not why we were able to do that. because we're another socialist big government-run country. it's because we're a country that was based on a different
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set of principles and the thing that strikes me the most and i don't want to overuse the welcome that you've extended to me, is this, if there was a country -- there was a country not so many years ago and this is how their thinking worked. they said, look, if you got somebody and they don't have a house to stay in and it gets cold in the winter, they're going to freeze to death. and if they don't have food to eat, they're going to starve to death and if they don't have medical care they're going to die of some kind of medical condition. so they ought to have a right to housing, a right to food, a right to health care and if they haven't had an education, they can't read, they ought to have a right to know how to read and study and be educated. so that government created those rights for its citizens and they marched forward boldly into the future until they became bankrupt and were disbanded. it was called the union of soviet socialist republics. we called it the ussr. and we knew it wasn't a very good system because it was paced
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on communism and socialism -- it was based on communism and socialism. yet here in america we have heard even as i have stood here on the floor with you, my friend, we have heard democrats say that you have a right to health care. and -- so we as a government we are now saying that people, we're going to have the government get involved in housing, the government's going to get involved in food and food stamps. the government is now going it take over health care. the government has now taken over most of the loans for colleges and education and it's like, how come we're repeating this -- the same things that the soviet union did and anticipating that we'll get different results? instead our founders had a different concept. they said that our rights are basic things that come from god. in our declaration of independence all are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. among these are life and liberty
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and the pursuit of happiness. if you note those rights, they're not rights to something that somebody else has a claim to. those of from you iowa do some farming. i think you grow some corn in iowa. i know we do some in missouri. but our nextdoor neighbor does a lot of wheat and corn. and swlu one of your iowa farmers combine the sweat of his brow with the produce from the field, they own that corn. it is their corn because it was grown on their land, they worked hard and it belongs to them. we call that private property. we call that free enterprise. and because i'm hungry doesn't give me a right to something that belongs to someone else. that's theft. that's stealing. and if the government takes someone's corn and gives it to someone else who doesn't grow it is called stealing but we call it institutionalized theft. that's socialism. you never have a right to something that's the unique property of another person. the founders said you have a right to your life because god gives that uniquely to an
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individual. you have a right to liberty because god gives you just one life and you can go choose the career of your choosing. nobody else chooses a career. you get to do it yourself. but it doesn't say you own somebody else's career. and should tell them what they should do in their life. that's what the soviet union thought. and so our system was based on freedom. it was based on limited government. limited in the sense that it was a job of government to protect just those basic rights that god gives to all men. and we have been setting aside that formula that works instead trying to adopt something that the europeans have never made work and of course it never worked in the soviet union. we're going the wrong direction and we need to go back toward freedom. i didn't mean to get on too long a little disertation. but those distinctions between equal before the law as opposed to special deals, that's a very big part of what we're dealing with, congressman. mr. king: i thank the gentleman from missouri for coming in to add to that. and the components of this
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freedom that seem to be completely disregarded over on this side of the aisle and the debate that we've gone through on health care and the argument that there are certain freedoms in that fashion. i recall -- i recall franklin dell nor roosevelt's for freedom speech and if you go down to the memorial down here at f.d.r.'s memorial you can walk along and look at the display -- he's the longest serving president of the united states, he had some ideas, i think he was very strong in leading this country through a victory in world war ii. i think that his economic leadership throughout the great depression extended and made the great depression greater than it might have been. if we would have allowed free market capitalism it to reprail. but franklin roosevelt gave the freedom speech and the four freedoms were painted and drawn by norman rockwell on the cover of "life" magazine as i recall it. the four freedoms were freedom of speech, good, freedom of
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religion, also good, both of those are constitutional freedoms, they're protected in the constitution specifically, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the other two were freedom from want and freedom from fear. now, if any people can be free of want that means that they don't have any desire to get up and go do anything, they don't want for anything. we know that -- i said back during the 1970's when the american people were worried about the economic juggernaut of japan swallowing our free market up because japan was growing so fast and they were such intense competitors and they had cash left over and they were buying into the united states and competing directly and they went from -- and i remember this from being a little boy, we first started getting products from japan that were little new year's toys like the little whistles and those that spring out like that when you blow -- i don't know what you call those. i think the japanese made the chinese handcuffs we had to play with, too. little paper products that came
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from japan and then things got better. i can remember the time i was in junior high school, i had a little toshiba transistor wroo where you could listen to a radio and walk around. as things went on we started to see the japanese make optics. so the optical equipment today is state of the art. very good, very good. very good recording, very good electronic devices. their quality of what they were doing was pretty primitive just after world war ii, which one would expect and by the 1970's the japanese were doing many things better than we were here in the united states and we were worried that january pass was going to take us over -- japan was going to take us over and eclipse the american economy. because our production, our export markets were diminishing and theirs were increasing and that was the first time i think in my lifetime we were worried about the balance of trade. i said then and i'll say today that if you wanted to destroy a culture, a free enterprise culture, a dynamic culture and
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civilization, the united states has a simple solution, what we would do is we would go in and air drop money in over japan. as long as they didn't work we'd fly them in money. if you drop money down in the streets of tokyo and if people could gather that up every day and spend it and buy what they needed, they wouldn't want for anything and they wouldn't work for anything. it would destroy the work ethic of a culture and civilization. that's how you would do it. if you wanted to create a socialist state, i can tell you how to do that, too, madam speaker. and that is, go out into the middle of the sahara desert where there isn't a soul, not even a camel, for 100 miles, and hang a pipe there from a sky-hook, an expression, and hang a pipe there and drop federal dollars down out of that pipe and let them billow out onto the sand in the desert and pretty soon somebody would find that money and they would go there to grab that money and somebody else would come. it wouldn't be eashed income, that would just be something flee that crumbs from the sky. federal money comes from the
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describe. it's been dumped all over america by this president. $787 billion in the stimulus plan, $700 billion in the tarp fund -- fund. when you give people something for nothing, they lose their desire, they lose their want, they have freedom from want as long as they're dependent upon the benefactor and we could create a socialist state in less than a generation, in the middle of the sahara desert, if we just dump money out there and gave it to people and they would become dependent upon it. . greed is a good quality as long as it is built upon a moral aspiration. why wouldn't anything think that it isn't in the socialist state. don't tell me your you are. you have taken all kinds of steps to move this nation into a
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socialist state and if anybody wants to step into that debate. i don't believe you believe you will take me on. you are moving to a socialist state. you have nationalized, mr. speaker. the congress on the left side have nationalized eight large entities, a.i.g., freddie mac, fannie mae, general motors and chrysler. $787 billion in the stimulus plan. they have nationalized several programs in my state. they have dumped money in there now and created jobs where jobs don't exist. so, the freedom of the free market system has been dramatically diminished and the people that advocate for the socialist state this freedom from want simply created a depeppedsi class in america and f.d.r.'s aspiration -- you have a right to not want for
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something. the heart of the american people, the american free people have to want. we have to desire that the next generation lives better. we live in a moral and faithful society. we have to raise our children that way. if we tie this together, the world is a better place and more people live better. and the harder we work and more we produce. but if we don't want, we don't produce and therefore our productivity diminishes and the sunsets on the american empire. that's freedom from wants mistake. f.d.r.'s mistake, is freedom from fear. freedom from fear. now, if we don't fear anything, we don't move away from anything and we don't face those fears either. how can any government guarantee that you have a right to freedom from fear? and yet the belief over here on the ever encroaching socialist side of the aisle is that we have a right to be free from
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want, free from fear, a right to health care, a right to your own personalized health insurance program, a program that will be delivered to every human being, probably to the chimps you, but to every american human being, a health insurance policy of their very own, for illegals as well and here's how it works. it works in this fashion. they have now covered every possible scenario of someone who is illegally in the united states and make sure everyone is covered. they undermine the proof of citizenship requirements in the medicaid requirements and did so in the schip rewrite where they expanded health insurance for children and families of four, for example, in my state, making less than $75,000 a year and providing that health insurance at 300% of poverty. and in that bill, which, by the way, provided health insurance
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premiums for families that were also paying the alternative minimum tax, they had to pay the rich man's tax and subsidize the health insurance premiums for children. and in that same bill, they wiped out the requimets for a birth severity and other documents that are the verification for medicaid eligibility so we aren't providing medicaid to illegals. that got wiped out. now an illegal person in the united states has to attest to a social security number. here's the number, it's mine. fine. here are your benefits. 9.7 million people who in the united states don't bother to sign up. they're here in this list and i won't go into to that except to say now here and i want to give health insurance policies to every illegal in america. i just talked about those that now have to sign up for medicaid, but some have jobs.
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those working for employers -- the employer will be required to give them a health insurance policy legal or not and prohibit them from verifying if they're illegal because e-verify doesn't allow them to check. under these scenarios that are there and if they make too much money to qualify for medicaid and the employer doesn't provide the health insurance, then the alternative is, we will cut them a check. we will give them a credit and say take that and buy your health insurance and go to the exchange that is created by this bill and buy health insurance. there is no scenario that can be contrived that an illegal in america would be denied conceivably a health insurance policy, much of it -- might even go so far to say almost all of it funded by the american taxpayer. that is how far out of touch of reality these people are and
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it's a direct of assault on the rule of law, an assault on the producers of america and it undermines the core of our character and who we are and despirits the patriotic americans and undermines and erodes and could roads our soul. and i yield to the the gentleman from missouri. mr. akin: i appreciate you yielding to me. one of the thing that happens down here, this legislative process gets complicated. sometimes people pay attention to people like you and i on the floor of the chamber of the house and people may even pay attention to what we're voting on here on the floor. when you talk about this nancy pelosi health care socialized medicine bill on the floor, you're not going to have an amendment that says, yeah, but the illegal immigrants can't get free health care here. they're not going to vermont amendment here because people don't want to vote on that because that might not be
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popular back home. but the important thing is, in various committees, they do take those votes. in fact, that they development -- amendment was offered in one of the committees where the pelosi health care bill was for several months and offered an amendment saying that there will be no one that's eligible for any of this insurance pool, any of these insurance pools that has not passed the eligibility of citizenship and they spelled out what that was. so that was an amendment that was offered. now the bill had said originally, we aren't going to give this to illegal immigrants, and there wasn't enforcement mechanism. to add it, the amendment was proposed. that amendment went up for a vote. can you guess how the voting went? it was supported 100% by republicans and rejected by the democrats. is there a protection in the bill for illegal immigrants to
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be able to get health insurance? the answer is, of course they can get it, because that amendment was defeated. there were all sorts of protests. it's not our intention that they will get free health care. if that were really the intent, there would have been an amendment to say we don't mean people to get this unless they pass the eligibility requirements. that was defeated by the democrats in committee. they knew that. it came to the floor without that protection and passed this floor without that protection and that says the way the pelosi health care bill stands now that you have illegal immigrants who come to this country and will get health care and guess who is going to pay for it? the u.s. taxpayers, chair children and grandchildren with the multilaterally dollar bill that has been proposed. so it is interesting that what you are saying, a lot of people
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say, well, i don't like this partisan stuff. republicans and democrats claim this, can't you get along. the fact of the matter is, you put an amendment like that in committee, there is a polar division of opinion as to what you want to see in the health care bill. we need to protect against illegal immigrants getting this health care and the democrats -- maybe one or two voted with the republicans, but a great majority so that amendment failed ms. sanchez: -- and that's why it failed. mr. king: i just would inject this. this is what james russell lowell about compromise. compromise makes a good umbrella but a poor roof, it is temporarily expedient, wise in party politics, almost sure to be unwise in statesmanship, that
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is his statement on compromise. good umbrella, but a poor roof. and i yield back. mr. akin: that is something we need to be paying attention to, too. we have the illegal immigration question that is part of these uninsured and other kinds of amendments that were offered, too, in committees. another one that seemed to me to be very important is, what is the heart of good health care. it seems to me like the heart of it is when a doctor and patient come to a decision as to what they should be doing medley, that other people shouldn't butt in and maybe you want to get a second in and make sure what you're second in and make sure what you're doing is right but that dock -- doctor-patient relationship is right. they go into the field assuming
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they're going to have that relationship with their patient. and so we put some emphasis on that. one of the things we don't like is when some insurance company injects themselves into that doctor-patient relationship and i have heard the democrats complain about that. they said the greedy insurance companies, they get in between the doctor and patient and we don't like that either. one of the things is we put in the bill as an eafment that no government bureaucrat would put themselves between the doctor and patient. that was another amendment that was offered by a republican doctor. i think it was dr. gingrey i think from georgia and again republicans voted for it 100% and the democrats voted against it and so we have this pelosi health care bill and it has no doctor-patient relationship protection in it at all. worse than some insurance person
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coming between you and your doctor and that's when it's a bureaucrat, a federal government saying, no, we're sorry, steve, you're too old. you can take a bottle of aspirin home with you -- mr. king: reclaiming my time and in recent recollection, just yesterday, when the federal government panel came out and said to women, you know longer need to start getting mammograms when you ear l's 40, wait until you're 50 and space them out. this is the precursor of the panels we are likely to see if this bill becomes law. i'll put the diagram of these 111 new agencies up here so we have an image of what is coming at us in america if we're not able to kill this bill.
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in any case, the advice that came from the panel on breast cancer is the kind of advice you would get from a death panel. and the freedoms have been diminished here in the united states of america. there has been an assault on them. the vigor and vitality of the united states is under assault from the liberalist socialist left. we have seen the socializeation of our america. the president needs an exit strategy from the nationalization of our economy. we need to kill this bill, madam speaker and grasp american liberty and american vitality and with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman have a motion? mr. king: mr. speaker, i move the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is agreed to,
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accordingly, the house stands accordingly, the house stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. they will return tomorrow for debate on the medicare doctor payment bills, with the reduction in rates to doctors. that is scheduled to go into effect in january. live coverage continues again on c-span when the house gavels in. >> on c-span tonight, attorney general eric holder testifies before the senate judiciary committee. and later, all look at the government's preparations for the h1n1 swine flu.
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attorney general eric holder answered questions before the senate judiciary committee today on the decision to hold the trial of alleged 911 -- 9/11 terrorist in new york city. go morning, everyone. i would note for senators this is the first hearing to be held in this room now that we -- it's been rebuilt and reconstituted. those of you who have been here a long time know this thing was sort of like the dark hole.
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it was probably the worst place to have to ever have a hearing because it was so dark and awful and now it -- and i commend -- i commend the architect of the capitol and the sergeant of arms, everybody else who put this together and has made it better. attorney general holder, welcome and glad to have you here. i -- i commend the attorney general for moving forward last week with plans to proceed on several cases against those who seek to terrorize the united states using the full range of authorities and capabilities available to us. just as president obama is using our military diplomatic, legal, law enforcement and moral force to make america safer and more secure, the attorney general is
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exercising his responsibilities in consultation with the secretary of defense to determine where and how best to seek justice against those who have attacked americans here at home and around the world. after nearly eight years of delay, may finally move -- be moving forward to bring to justice the perpetrators and murderers from the september 11 attacks. i have great confidence in our attorney general. the capability of our prosecutors, our judges, our juries and the american people. in this regard. i support the attorney general's decision to it pursue justice against khalid shaikh mohammed and four others accused of plotting the september 11 attacks and go after them in our federal courts in new york. they committed murder here in the united states and we'll seek
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justice here in the united states. they committed crimes of murder in our country, and we will prosecute them in our country. we're the most powerful nation on earth. we have a justice system that is the envy of the world. we will not be afraid. we will still go forward, and we will prosecute them. war crimes and crimes of terror and murder can successfully be prosecuted in our federal courts, and we've done it over and over and over again. america's response to these acts is is not to cower in fear but to show the world that we are strong, resilient and determined. we don't jury-rig secret trials or kang rue courts as some of our adversaries do. we can rely on the american justice system and i urge this committee and american people to support the attorney general as this matter proceeds, urge the
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congress to proceed such assistance as will be needed including providing the victims of those events the ability to participate. many surviving members of those killed that day have said after years of frustration it's time to have justice and i will work with the department of justice and our courts systems, as i depend in the trial of timothy mcveigh to make sure that there are ways that the victims can watch these trials. federal courts have tried more than 100 terrorism cases since september 11th, more than 100 since september 11th. they proved they can handle sensitive classified information, security and other legal issues related to terrorism cases. and since the beginning of this year, more than 30 individuals charged with terrorism violations have been successfully prosecuted or sentenced in federal courts. the federal courts located in new york city try and convicted the so-called blind sheik for
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conspireing to bomb new york city landmarks and yam see yousef for the first world trade bombing. new york was one of the primary targets of the september 11 attacks. those who perpetuated the attacks should be tried there. they should answer for their brutality and for the murder of thousands of innocent americans. like mayor bloomberg, i have full confidence in the capacity of new york. and i have full confidence in commissioner ray kelly, one of the finest police officers i've ever known, and the new york city police department. the attorney general personally reviewed these cases, along with defense secretary gates and based on the protocol they announced they determined to use our full array of powers by proceeding against the september 11 plotters in federal court. those charged with attack on the "uss cole" outside this country will be tried before a militarily tribunal determined
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to go against major hassan in the court-martial for the deadly attack at ft. hood just two weeks ago. i think the three different venues used for these three ses sets of crimes are appropriate and i commend you for that. the president spoke at ft. hood last week in a tribute to our brave men and women of the armed forces there and he expanded on that matter in his weekly address over the weekend. every member of congress, every member, joins the president and military community in grieving for the victims and their families. we pray for the recovery of those who are wounded. hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder. the army is leading the investigation with the support of the fbi and the president has ordered a review of what was known ahead of time and i think that's appropriate and i look forward as this committee conducts appropriate oversight to find out exactly what
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happened, where steps were taken and especially where steps were not taken. i caution everybody to do it in a manner that does not interfere with the investigation and prosecution of this case. we want the prosecutors to be able to go forward with the case and not have anything we do interfere with it. i've already written to john brennan, the assistant to the president for homeland security and terrorism on behalf of this committee. i have asked him to provide us results of the internal investigation by the fbi, army intelligence agencies that's under way. both owe an interim classified matters, both senator sessions and i should be informed and i've spoken both with the attorney general and with fbi director moeller and yesterday the ranking member and i as well as the chairman of the intelligence committee senator feinstein were briefed on the status of the investigation. we should and we will conduct responsible oversight.
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try not to do it in a reckless fashion because we should not take steps that are going to interfere with the ongoing investigation. or standing in the way of military prosecutors. i want them to be able to compile a thorough and complete case. also yesterday the attorney general and treasury secretary geithner announced the creation of a financial fraud task force. it's a significant step in our efforts to strengthen fraud prevention and enforcement. it uses the authority we provide in the fraud enforcement and recovery act. i worked hard with senator grassley and senator coffman to draft -- draft this act and get it passed. i was pleased to be there when the president signed it into law. it gives law enforcement new tools and resources to investigate and prosecute the kind of financial frauds that are undermining our country. we're now hard at work in [ inaudible ] as well.
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just this week we learned the government has paid more than $47 billion in questionable medicare claims. as we prepare to consider health reform legislation, we have to address these issues of health care fraud. i hope that our new act that we worked on in a bipartisan way will help that. we have to complete our legislative work on a media shield bill. the u.s. aid patriot act, sunset extension act. and on these matters, i appreciate the support we have from the attorney general. so, with that, let me yield to senator sessions and then attorney general holder. >> thank you, mr. chairman and i'm glad we could have this hearing today. we agree on a number of things on the matter of the prosecution of chal lid sheik mohammed in the 9/11 terrorists we don't agree. mr. attorney general, i appreciate you, enjoy working with you. you've got a tough job.
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when i complain to my wife about this or that, she looks me straight in the eye and says don't blame me, you asked for the job. so, you've got a tough job but you asked for it. you know -- with your experience, you know what you're asking for before you got it. let me acknowledge several people in the audience today, david beemer from florida and alice hoaglund from california are here. they came here for the hearing today. david lost his son todd, a and alice lost her son on flight 93. lisa dohan here she lost her husband navy captain robert dolan at the pentagon september 11th. deborah burlingame, i believe is here and she lost her brother, a pilot. also we are honored tim brown from the new york fire department is here. tim worked night after night on the rescue and recovery efforts of the world trade center. so, it's a privilege to have each of you with us today.
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on september 11th, 2001, our nation was attacked by a savage gang of terrorists, people who had previously stated as bin laden did, they were at war with the united states. their intent was to kill innocent americans and bring ruin to the united states. the death and destruction they caused in new york, washington, and pennsylvania was an act of war. at the time, that was crystal clear to us. if there is now among some folks in washington any confusion on that point, it's because time, i think, has dulled their memory or because other matters have clouded their judgment. but, the american people remember that day well. and they know that the facts have not changed. president bush responded to the 9/11 terrorist acts swiftly and forcefully and we have been blessed that the dedicated work of millions of americans has
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prevented similar attacks. of that scale. today, we remain engaged in the two long struggles in afghanistan and iraq. we wish the work there were -- was easy, but it is not. and this effort is not. as we sit in this chamber, 188,000 american men and women in uniform fight tirelessly to root out terrorism from foreign battlefields, our military and intelligence personnels are, in fact, at the war this very day. seven days a week, on a dangerous and adverse conditions because this congress has authorized and asked them to go there and we sent them there. the best way to honor these men and women is to work just as hard and just as smartly to ensure that what we do supports them and the goals that we have set for them. regrettably when i look at the
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policies taking shape under the new administration, i fear that that is not the case. i just am worried about those decisions. over the past nine months, we've seen the administration continue to delay providing clear leadership to our troops in afghanistan. call for an investigation and potential prosecution of cia agents who risked their lives to capture dangerous terrorists and who previously have been cleared of investigation. they've cut a deal on a media shield legislation to protect individuals when they leak classified information unto the mass media in a way that i think is not good. they concede to a weakened form of the patriot act, a vital legislative tool for our intelligence community. and decline to provide basic information, to date, at least, that we're going to have to have
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as we go forward with the ft. hood investigation. and now announced that they will bring khalid shaikh mohammed, the self-proclaimed@@@@@ @ " a i think these policies signal to our people, to our country, and to our military, and to the international community that for the united states, fighting terrorism is not the priority that it once was. that we have returned to a pre- 9/11 mentality. the problem with this, al qaeda does not agree. they can do was harmed as we all well know, and will not -- they can do us harm, and we must use all lawful tools to do so.
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lives are at stake. today's hearing will focus on the decision to prosecute khalid sheikh mohammed and four other terrorists in u.s. courts rather than in military courts. dangerous, i believe it's misguided, i believe it is unnecessary. it represents a departure from our longstanding policy that these kind of cases should be treated under the well-established rules of war. khalid shaikh mohammed is a terrorist, is alleged to be a terrorist, he's alleged not to be a common criminal but who has a desire not for ill gotten gains but for the destruction of our country. the correct way to try him is by military tribunal.
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this distinction is important because the military courts and civilian courts have different functions. the united states -- the united states court system was not designed to try unlawful enemy combatants. and, mr. holder, i don't think these are normal defendants. these are people we are at war with. and we are dropping bombs on them, this very day very attacking their lairs wherever they hide. the fabulous police lawman who went after hasan was participating in a war effort. the enemy who could have been obliterated on the battlefield on one day but captured instead does not then become a common american criminal. they are once a prisoner of war,
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the laws of war say, as did lincoln and grant, that the prisoners will not be released when the war -- until the war ends. how absurd is it to say that we will release people who plan to attack us again? secondly, as part of their military activities, if they violate the laws of war, then and only then may they be tried for crimes. that's what happened to the nazi saboteurs and exparte commissions, military commission trials are fair, they are recognized not only by our country by nations all over the world. far from seeing our actions as some sort of demonstration of american fairness, i suspect our cold blooded enemies and our clear eyed friends both must wonder what is going on in our heads. are we, they must ask
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themselves, still serious about this effort? so as former attorney general michael mccasey wrote in 2007, terrorism prosecutions in this country have unintentionally provided terrorists with rich sources of intelligence. mr. attorney general, we're concerned about what's happening today. we respect and like you, but this is a serious question and we'll have a number of -- we'll raise a number of issues as we go throughout the hearing. thank you. >> well, obviously senator sessions and i have a differing view on this, but there will be differing views here, and that's why we thank you for coming here. although i must admit, senator sessions, that i'm delighted to hear somebody from alabama vote
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approvingly, ooh list is s. grant. >> and they were winners too. >> and appreciate that acknowledgment too. we probably best leave that one alone. i will put in the record the letter i sent to john brennan, the assistant president for homeland security and counterterrorism asking for the -- when they finish their investigation that this committee be able to see what we have found both what went right and what went wrong. attorney general holder, thank you for being here. please go ahead, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman, senator sessions and other members of the committee. when i appeared before this committee in january for my confirmation hearing, i laid out several goals for my time as attorney general. to protect the security of the
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american people, to restore the integrity of the department of justice, to reinvigorate the department's traditional mission, and most of all, to make decisions based on the facts and on the law. with no regard for politics. in my first oversight hearing in june, i described my early approach to these issues. five months later, we are deeply immersed in the challenges of the day. moving forward to make good on my promises to the committee and the president's promises to the american people. first and foremost, we're working day and night to protect the american people. due to the vigilance of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, we have uncovered and averted a number of serious threats to domestic and international security. recent arrests in new york, chicago, springfield and dallas are evidence of our success in identifying plots and stopping would-be attackers before they strike. violence can still occur, however, as evidenced by the
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recent tragic shootings at ft. hood. we mourn the deaths of the 13 brave americans, including dr. carveil a psychologist with the bureau of prisons who had been called to active duty. the federal bureau of investigation is working diligently to help gather evidence that will be used by military prosecutors in the upcoming trial of the individual who was alleged to have committed this heinous act. we're also seeking to learn from this incident to prevent its reoccurrence. future dangerousness is notoriously difficult to predict. the president has ordered a full review to determine if there has -- if there was more that could have been done to prevent the tragedy that unfolded in texas two weeks ago. we have briefed the chairman and ranking member of this committee and other congressional leaders on our efforts and will continue to keep congress abreast of this review. now, my written statement addresses a number of other issues before the department. but i'd like to use the rest of
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my time allowed to me today to address a topic i know is on many of your minds. my decision last week to refer khalid shaikh mohammed and four others for prosecution in federal courts for their participation in the 9/11 plot. as i said on friday, i knew this decision would be a controversial one. this was a tough call. and reasonable people can disagree with my conclusion that these individuals should be tried in federal court rather than a military commission. the 9/11 attacks were both an act of war and a violation of our federal criminal law. and they could have been prosecuted in either federal courts or military commissions. courts and commissions are both essential tools in our fight against terrorism. therefore, at the outset of my review of these cases, i had no preconceived notions as to the merits of either venue. and in fact, on the same day that i sent these five
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defendants to federal court, i referred five others to be tried in military commissions. i am a prosecutor. and as a prosecutor, my top priority was simply to select the venue where the government will have the greatest opportunity to present the strongest case in the best form. i studied this issue extensi extensively. i consulted the secretary of defense. i heard from prosecutors from my department and from the defense department's office of military commissions. i spoke to victims who were on both sides of this question. i asked a lot of questions and i weighed every alternative. and at the end of the day, it was clear to me that the venue in which we are most likely to obtain justice for the american people is in federal court. now, i know there are members of this committee and members of the public who have strong feelings on both sides. there are some who disagree with the decision to try the alleged cole bomber and several others in a military commission, just
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as there are some who disagree with prosecuting the 9/11 plotters in federal court. despite these disagreements i hope we can have an open, honest and informed discussion about that decision today, and as part of that discussion, i'd like to clear up some of the misinformation, misinformation that i have seen since friday. first, we know that we can prosecute terrorists in our federal courts safely and securely because we have been doing so for years. there are more than 300 convicted international and domestic terrorists currently in bureau of prisons custody, including those responsible for the 1993 world trade center bombing and the attacks on embassies in africa. our courts have a long history of handling these cases and no district has a longer history than the southern district of new york in manhattan. i have talked to mayor bloomberg of new york and both he and commissioner kelly believe that
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we can safely hold these trials in new york. second, we can protect classified material during trial. the classified information procedures act, or cipa, establishes strict rules and procedure for the use of classified information at trial, and we have used it to protect classified information in a range of terrorism cases. the standards adopted by the congress to govern the use of classified information in military commissions are based on, derived from the very cipa rules we would use in federal court. third, khalid shaikh mohammed will have no more of a platform to spew his hateful ideology in federal court than he would have had in a military commission. before the commissions last year, he declared the proceedings an inquisition, he condemned his own attorneys and our constitution and professed his desire to become a martyr.
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those proceedings were heavily covered in the media. yet few complained at that time that his rants threatened the fabric of our democracy. judges in federal courts have firm control over the conduct of defendants and other participants in their courtrooms, and when the 9/11 conspirators are brought to trial, i have every confidence that the presiding judge will ensure appropriate decor many. and if khalid shaikh mohammed makes the same statements he made in his military commission proceedings, i have every confidence that the nation and the world will see him for the coward that he is. i'm not scared of what khalid shaikh mohammed has to say at trial. and no one else needs to be afraid, either. fourth, there is nothing common. there is nothing common about the treatment the alleged 9/11 conspirators will receive. in fact, i expect to direct
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prosecutors to seek the ultimate and most uncommon penalty for these heinous crimes. and i expect that they will be held in custody under special administrative measures reserved for the most dangerous criminals. finally, there are some who have said that the decision means we have reverted to a pre9/11 mentality, or that we don't realize that this nation is at war. three weeks ago, i had the honor of joining the president at dover air force base for the dignified transfer of the remains of 18 americans, including three dea agents who lost their lives to the war in afghanistan. these brave soldiers and agents carried home on that plane gave their lives to defend the country and its values. and we owe it to them to do everything we can to carry on the work for which they sacrifice. i know that we are at war. i know that we are at war with a
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vicious enemy who targets our soldiers on the battlefield in afghanistan and our civilians on the streets here at home. i have personally witnessed that somber fact in the faces of the families who have lost loved ones abroad, and i have seen it in the daily intelligence stream that i review each day. those who suggest otherwise are simply wrong. prosecuting the 9/11 defends in court does not presume whether or not we are at war. we are at war. and we will use every instrument of national power, civilian, military, law enforcement intelligence, diplomatic and others, to win. we need not cower in the face of this enemy. our institutions are strong. our infrastructure is sturdy. our resolve is firm. and our people are ready.

Nancy Grace
HLN November 18, 2009 8:00pm-9:00pm EST

News/Business. Current trials and legal issues.

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